In Defense of the 8-Bit: Retro Gaming and the Hyperkin Retron 5
With gaming’s next generation of consoles already warm in their respective chambers, both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 seem to be the next logical step for gamers come this holiday season. Both debuting within a week of each other, PlayStation’s fourth installment on the 15th of November and Microsoft’s offering on the 22nd, these devices will no doubt dominate the competition in terms of best graphics, fastest gameplay, biggest games and largest entertainment system this planet has ever laid eyes on. But, curiously enough, there is a third system that has flown under the radar since its mysterious unveiling at this year’s E3. Premiering mid-December, Hyperkin’s Retron 5 is currently advertised three hundred dollars cheaper than its competitors and boasts an unfathomable 4,664 games at launch.
Yes, you read that correctly, mad games everybody.
Hyperkin, a video game accessory and peripheral powerhouse based out of South El Monte, CA, has set the standard for delivering contemporary hardware for the retro gaming community, as well as the modern gamer.
Their newest product, the Hyperkin Retron 5 boasts an impressive library that spans nine different consoles, including the Japanese versions of the first two Nintendo generation brands : NES / Famicom and SNES / Super Famicom.
In addition to these four systems that will be available to play out of the box, Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advanced portable gaming systems will also offer up their complete roster. The Sega Genesis and Sega Master System also round off this retro gamer’s paradise box.
As a retro gaming enthusiast myself, this appears to be a message from the video game elder gods, as they reach down and say, “Hey, Spencer, you’ve been super rad lately, so this exists now.” But before I get all wrapped up in fanboy fantasies, it is important to remember that retro gaming is still a fairly unpopular angle of gaming that remains overshadowed by the gazillion dollar industry of cinematic, “AAA” gaming.
Now, this is not to say I am one of those cartoonish gamers that refuse to play anything that expands into a third dimension. No, I am currently and happily exploring the daunting depths of the fifth Grand Theft Auto like just about every other human with an electrical outlet. Although I do love luring police helicopters into the wind fields to the untimely demise, I cannot help but still pull out my grey NES cartridges and have a blast none the less.
The Retron 5 is not the first time traveling wonder box that has been available to the public, as a plethora of revivalist systems have appeared on the market with mixed results. One thing I have always found particularly frustrating was the terrible trend of making cheap, plastic controllers that do little to mimic the system’s original intentions. The Retron 5 does comes with two wireless controllers, but for the first time ever, three distinct ports allow the gamer to place original Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, as well as any of these system’s additional peripherals (light guns, power gloves, etc).
The term, “Retro Gaming” is a scary one in the sense that everyone gets super emotional about their own personal definition, mostly about its cut-off year.
Some gamers suggest that it relates to the aesthetics, an eight bit art style, chip-tune soundtracks and the devilish tendency to defeat the game in a single sitting with zero saves. Others prefer to label classic gaming as any game prior to the most current system. No matter how you define playing video games from the past, the experience to be had often transcends the game at face value.
When talking to other retro gamers, I noticed a lot of the motivation for playing older games is the nostalgic value that each bulky cartridge is loaded with upon each long-winded dust cleansing. So whether you’re a seasoned dad who enjoys reliving a childhood spent with the likes of Mario, Link and Metroid, or a generation hopper looking for something different for your thumbs to cry about, look out a December 10th release for the Retron 5 gaming system from Hyperkin.
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